From Despair to Where?
Fans arrived at St. Mary's Statium on Saturday afternoon with a bouyant attitude, expecting so see a Saints team rejuvinated by two good recent results brush aside visitors Burnley, a team with nothing but pride to play for. However, after an hour of the match things reverted to type with discontent, frustration, despair and anger spilling over from the stands.
It's easy for the board to keep requesting unity and whole-hearted support from the fans, but it's hard to sing when you're losing, and harder still when you know that the future is going to be bleaker than the present. I for one am not going to apologise to anyone for booing at the final whistle. I appreciate that some fans think that the only way we're going to survive is by backing the boys to the hilt but sometimes it seems that they care so little that cheering them on leaves you feeling a little bit foolish. If they don't deserve it then why do it? Who are we kidding? We didn't deserve to win on Saturday because we can't score. Yes, we saw more of the ball, played marginally the better football but no matter what the creative players in the side do with a strike partnership of John and Wright-Phillips we're not going to do much. They're both talented players in their own way but it just doesn't work. Mainly because neither of them can make the ball stick. I mean, we played a more direct game on Saturday which is fine so long as you have the strikers to pull it off. Ideally a strong, tall target man and a quick, willing runner to collect knockdowns and other scraps. Stern John is possibly the laziest striker we've ever had. His shortcomings are overlooked because admittedly he's scored a bagfull of goals in what is a struggling team. BWP's fans are always quick to point out that he has lightning pace. Well, yes he does but i'd like to see him put it to better use than just being caught offside time and time again.
Nigel Pearson is undoubtably a talented coach with huge potential. I honestly believe that if we can survive, and if the summer brings some stability to the club we must do everything to retain his services and back him fully. The only thing he's done 'wrong' is come to us at the wrong time. It's clear to see the impact he's had on the players and fans. My worry is that he's building slowly and carefully from the back. In normal circumstances that would be commendable but right now we need goals, and more importantly, POINTS! Saturday illustrates what i mean perfectly. Further defensive improvement and a genuine belief that we can keep a clean sheet. His signings of Wright, Lucketti and Perry have all been truly inspired. But the net result of his approach is to yield an 'unlucky' 1-0 defeat. I really would have preferred a thrilling 3-2 defeat. Not because of the excitement that a goal fest brings, but simply because i'd rather lose a game trying to win it than losing a game because we didn't attack enough.
We're running out of time. West Brom next Monday is now a must win, and who the hell would want to go to the Hawthorns knowing they simply have to beat them. They're probably the last team we want to be playing. I know football has a magic all of it's own and scripts are written to be torn up but i really can't see us getting anything. We'l only open up after we've gone behind and i'm not sure anymore that we as a club have the strength to come back in the face of adversity. There was a time when we prided ourselves on just that. But we've been sucked dry and those days are gone.